Lightning at Palouse Falls               2016/05

The flash of lightning greeted us as we emerged at dusk from a steep climb out of upper Palouse Canyon. My heart raced. Lightning isn’t unusual here, but this was a photo op not to be missed! I sped to the cliff overlooking Palouse Falls, a perfect ringside perch for the ensuing show. A lone […]

Backpacking Photographer, Light-weight Supporting Camera Gear        2016/01

Light-weight ideas for tripod, camera case, filters and other tools of the backpacking photographer I researched switching to a mirrorless camera for backpacking recently, figuring the weight savings and comparable picture quality would make the switch from a Canon 5D III a win. A driver of that investigation was that I skipped purchase the 50MP […]

Creating Starbursts ____ 2015/07

Starbursts are light rays emanating from point light sources — from the sun, moon, streetlights, sunlit waterdrops or reflective surfaces. They are creative photographic elements that can enhance an image — adding drama to a dull sky, a focal point to a silhouette or waterdrop, a twinkle to street lights. Starbursts are created where light […]

Backpacking Tripod: Oben CT-2331 ____ 2014/08

After a long, long wait, I finally found a tripod that matched my spec for light-weight backpacking. I shoot while backpacking with a full-frame, Canon 5D Mark III, with lenses that range from a 14mm f/2.8 to a 70-200mm f/4 zoom. Body and lens, this is demanding stuff for a light-weight tripod. My criteria list […]

Chickadee Flight Shot Challenge _____ 2014/05

It’s prime bird photography time, and my backyard chestnut-backed chickadees had eggs that hatched in a homemade nesthole May 9th. It’s a good photo-op, sunlit in the late afternoon, and with birds that tolerate my nearby presence. I shot a few “portrait-type” shots of the birds landing at the hole with bugs or grubs in […]

Photographer Kayak: Necky Elias ____ 2014/04

I’ve been paddling a fiberglass Necky Elias for a year now and I’m constantly reminded of its suitability for photographers. Our needs are a bit different from other paddlers; those needs include ample stowage, ample hatch and cockpit openings, and maneuverability. Speed is rarely an issue. Open ocean suitability is a plus. The Necky Elias […]

A Most Important Thing ____ 2014/02

Early on, nature photographers are taught the necessity of using a tripod. The great teacher John Shaw calls the tripod a crucial, best single accessory. Pros use tripods. With a tripod you slow down, take control and become a better photographer. You can better fine tune compositions, pick and choose elements like line and shape, […]

Photo Tip: Big Lens, Low Light ____ 2013/07

I photographed Pileated Woodpeckers at a couple of nest sites in June. Both were in deep woods, with no possibility for sunlit images, with skylight overhead filtered through the leaves of Bigleaf Maple. The crow-sized birds chisel out a new nest each spring, 15-70 feet up (Peterson), and—in Northwest second-growth city parks—often in Alder snags. […]

Photo Tip: Foreground Elements _____ 2013/03

In the field, I often stalk through a potential photo op with the viewfinder glued to my eye, seeking just the right composition or perspective. If I plan well, I’m scouting before the light gets good—in the afternoon for a sunset shot, or the day before for the sunrise. What I’m scouting for is foreground. […]

Expedition Trip Photography Plan, Part I—the Gear ___ 2011/03

Two years ago, I wrote about photography on a longish kayak trip (Ten-day Power Trip, 06/2009) in Baja, a trip without the ability to charge batteries. My solution then was extra batteries and plenty of flash memory, coupled with judicious use of those resources. A solar charger didn’t make sense—the trip wasn’t long enough—and a […]